For those of us who approach cinema primarily as a means of putting as much distance between ourselves as reality as possible, the films of Panos Cosmatos are a precious rarity. Few filmmakers can conjure the essence of the surreal with the commitment and totality of the Canadian genre master, whose dark fantasias such as Mandy and Beyond the Black Rainbow plunge us into hallucinatory alternate dimensions or netherworlds hiding within our own. The next head trip might not be so far off.
This afternoon, the Hollywood Reporter broke the news that Cosmatos has charted a course to insanity once again, setting up his next film Nekrokosm with A24. For those worried that our reliable madman had for whatever reason gone on the straight and narrow, take solace — the bare-bones teaser for the premise does indeed include the word “phantasmagorical.”
The logline itself has yet to be divulged, but Cosmatos has offered the vagary that the film is “set deep within a strange galaxy where two lovers are torn apart as they try to survive a malevolent invasion.” Those sober enough to form memories of his last feature Mandy will recall that the plot followed a rather similar template, as demonic bikers drove a violent wedge between metalhead paramours Nicolas Cage and Andrea Riseborough.
What direction Cosmatos will take that prompt in this time around is anyone’s guess, but stylistically, there are a few things we can safely expect: high-grain filmstrip photography, hyper-saturated reds and magentas, probably a dash of flesh-rending horror. Tapping a star like Cage for his last film could hint at further collaborations with A-list talent, after sticking with Canadian actors for his debut.
But ultimately, the impossibility of predicting what wondrous terrors a Cosmatos film could hold is all part of the enjoyment. Best to sit back and let the unhinged formalism wash over you — perhaps, hopefully, on next year’s festival circuit.
Published 24 Mar 2022
The Canadian filmmaker on the making of his heavy metal psycho-horror, Mandy, and working his one of his acting heroes.
Panos Cosmatos unleashes hell on Nicolas Cage and Andrea Riseborough in this bloody, psychedelic headtrip.
Director Matthew Rankin discusses his experimental debut feature The Twentieth Century.